18/10/2017 12:18 SAST | Updated 18/10/2017 12:18 SAST

Historical San Literature Shortlisted For Major Book Award

It's a groundbreaking moment for indigenous authors.


150-year-old Khoisan literature has been nominated for the 2017 South African Literary Awards (SALA) - the first time the indigenous San languages are being recognised by the country's most prestigious literary award.

Written in the endangered !Xam and !Kun languages, the works by five legendary contributors are drawn from Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd collection of !Xam and !Kun narratives, verses, songs, chants, drawings and other materials consisting of over 150 notebooks running in some 13 000 pages.

The collection is considered a unique cultural and literary collection, and has been recognised by United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Council (UNESCO) and entered into the memory of the World Register.

Also shortlisted for this years SALA awards is legendary 'prophet' Credo Mutwa. Mutwa shares the category with other literary stalwarts like Aletta Matshedisð Motimele, who is revered for her Sepedi works and Etienne van Heerden, an academic and prolific Afrikaans author.

Winners will be announced later this year.